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Understanding MacVLAN - The Easy Way

Assume you have a clean Docker Host system with just 3 networks available – bridge, host and null

root@ubuntu:~# docker network ls
NETWORK ID          NAME                DRIVER              SCOPE
871f1f745cc4        bridge              bridge              local
113bf063604d        host                host                local
2c510f91a22d        none                null                local
root@ubuntu:~#

My Network Configuration is quite simple. It has eth0 and eth1 interface. I will just use eth0.

root@ubuntu:~# ifconfig
docker0   Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 02:42:7d:83:13:8e
          inet addr:172.17.0.1  Bcast:172.17.255.255  Mask:255.255.0.0
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr fe:05:ce:a1:2d:5d
          inet addr:100.98.26.43  Bcast:100.98.26.255  Mask:255.255.255.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::fc05:ceff:fea1:2d5d/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:923700 errors:0 dropped:367 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:56656 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:150640769 (150.6 MB)  TX bytes:5125449 (5.1 MB)
          Interrupt:31 Memory:ac000000-ac7fffff

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback
          inet addr:127.0.0.1  Mask:255.0.0.0
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:45 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:45 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
          RX bytes:3816 (3.8 KB)  TX bytes:3816 (3.8 KB)

Step:3 – Creating MacVLAN network on top of eth0.

docker network create -d macvlan --subnet=100.98.26.43/24 --gateway=100.98.26.1  -o parent=eth0 pub_net

Step-4: Verifying MacVLAN network

root@ubuntu:~# docker network ls
NETWORK ID          NAME                DRIVER              SCOPE
871f1f745cc4        bridge              bridge              local
113bf063604d        host                host                local
2c510f91a22d        none                null                local
bed75b16aab8        pub_net             macvlan             local
root@ubuntu:~#

Step-5: Let us create a sample Docker Image and assign statics IP(ensure that it is from free pool)

root@ubuntu:~# docker  run --net=pub_net --ip=100.98.26.47 -itd alpine /bin/sh
Unable to find image 'alpine:latest' locally
latest: Pulling from library/alpine
ff3a5c916c92: Pull complete
Digest: sha256:e1871801d30885a610511c867de0d6baca7ed4e6a2573d506bbec7fd3b03873f
Status: Downloaded newer image for alpine:latest
493a9566c31c15b1a19855f44ef914e7979b46defde55ac6ee9d7db6c9b620e0

Important Point: When using macvlan, you cannot ping or communicate with the default namespace IP address. For example, if you create a container and try to ping the Docker host’s eth0, it will not work. That traffic is explicitly filtered by the kernel modules themselves to offer additional provider isolation and security.

Then how shall I enable this feature?

It’s simple. Just run the below command:

Example: ip link add mac0 link $PARENTDEV type macvlan mode bridge

So, in our case, it will be:

ip link add mac0 link eth0 type macvlan mode bridge
ip addr add 100.98.26.38/24 dev mac0
ifconfig mac0 up

Let us try creating container and pinging:

root@ubuntu:~# docker run --net=pub_net -d --ip=100.98.26.53 -p 81:80 nginx
10146a39d7d8839b670fc5666950c0e265037105e61b0382575466cc62d34824
root@ubuntu:~# ping 100.98.26.53
PING 100.98.26.53 (100.98.26.53) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 100.98.26.53: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=1.00 ms
64 bytes from 100.98.26.53: icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.501 ms

Wow ! It just worked.

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